Kai '18 in Pixar(The First Visit of the Trip)

My name is Kiana Autry-Dawkins and I am a Senior at Wesleyan University. I am a Science and Society major with a concentration in Anthropology, and a minor in African Studies. My interests are in public health, biotechnology, and social justice.Rosa Munson-Blatt is a freshman at Wesleyan University and a prospective Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies major with a writing perspectives. Her interests include helping to create gender parity in the work world, media/ journalism, and social justice.


(PS: I am a huge fan of Pixar animations and frequently watch their movies to procrastinate. So, you can only imagine my over hyperventilation when…)

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We visited the headquarters of Pixar where alumni Elyse Klaidman and Noah Newman gave us a tour. We had the opportunity to see internal exhibits that Elyse had curated on the recently released film Coco as well as the upcoming Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 movies.  It was amazing to see how Elyse advocated for spaces for the artists of Pixar to have their own place to showcase their personal work or the artwork that helped create Pixar’s motion pictures. It was exciting to see how the magnitude of detail and attentiveness exerted by numerous people would then impact their greater product.  We also got to visit a recording booth, that had been utilized by the likes of actors from the movie Up and even Tom Hanks. We also learned that the design of the building motivated unity and collaboration through the placement of the only bathrooms in central locations so that people would have to passby colleagues when they went to use the facilities.


Following the tour we sat down with Elsye, Noah and Leslie Pao for a question and answer session. We really enjoyed the sociable, welcoming atmosphere of Pixar that they discussed, such as an annual festival where employees can showcase their varied talents.We also enjoyed hearing about the Pixar outreach program to share opportunities with more of the general population. Elyse helps to run a project with Khan Academy that highlights the intersection of art and technology through a dynamic curriculum.

It was also inspiring to hear how they ended up at Pixar; it was not through purposely seeking out Pixar, but the manifestation of life’s ups and downs, being receptive to any and all opportunities that were made available to them, and utilizing their Wesleyan connections! Through changing jobs and determination, these alumni are now able to actualize their goals and find challenging and engaging work at Pixar that they seem to honestly love to do.

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